Elrond had a cunning plan. A very cunning plan.
(Yes, Gentle Readers, the looks of terror on your faces are completely
He surveyed the young rat in front of him. Bilge shifted nervously beneath his sovereign's steely gaze.
Could it be that the miniature Elf Lord had found out who Bilge's father was and wished him dead? At length, Elrond spoke.
have a mission for you, soldier."
"A mission?" Bilge asked. Yup. The secret was out.
"A very important mission,"
continued Elrond lazily, letting the suspense build. "For which you are to depart immediately.
Bilge's head jerked
up. "But, my lord!" he said. "I am to be the standard bearer for your coronation ceremony tomorrow!"
"I am well aware
of that," Elrond snapped, "but this mission is far more important for the future of this kingdom than a standard bearer. Sergeant
Pepper Spray has already selected another soldier to take your place."
"Yes, my lord," Bilge muttered.
about this mission," said Elrond. "I have received word from my spies that one of the humans dwelling in Rivendell is having
some doubt as to the fidelity of one of her peers, and is questioning where her own loyalties lie. I believe this could be
turned to our advantage. I want you to find this girl and turn her to our side."
"My lord?" asked Bilge, surprised.
"She can be used as a spy," Elrond told him, as though it were the most obvious thing in the world. "The spies
of BEER are all well and good, but I need someone who can go right into the middle of enemy territory without being detected,
and give detailed reports on everything that the enemy is up to."
"BEER can do all that, my lord," muttered Bilge sullenly.
am well aware of BEER's remarkable abilities," Elrond snapped back, "but I need someone who is not immediately dismissed as
vermin! The Elf Prince Legolas holds this girl in high esteem, and would never suspect anything of her."
"Yes, my lord,"
Bilge said, feeling rather resentful. "How am I to find this girl?"
"It should be easy," said Elrond dismissively.
"Her name is Aldawen."
Aldawen sat on her bed, glaring at the door. SHE was still out there, talking to Sake and possibly making evil plans
to seduce Legolas. Legolas had told Aldawen that he was aware of Sprite's former infatuation with him and had assured her
that he'd never felt anything for Sprite, but Aldawen knew that he only said this because Sprite had brainwashed him.
could hear Legolas talking to Figwit, though she couldn't make out the words. She wondered if Figwit knew of Sprite's treachery.
If he was still ignorant, he'd have to be informed soon. They simply could not allow a two-faced, lust object-stealing fangirl
like Sprite stay in Rivendell. If only Elrond were still around, he could make Sprite leave. Aldawen knew that Elrond would
see reason, and understand that it was in everyone's best interests for the fangirl to be thrown out.
Trying to block
out the sounds of two conversations and fangirl singing, Aldawen turned back to her laptop. She gazed dejectedly at two of
the folders on the desktop. One was labeled "Leggy Pics" and the second bore the name "Jack Pics." It should not be too difficult
to deduce what each of the folders held.
'I never should have shown those pictures to Sprite,' thought Aldawen. 'This
never would have happened if I hadn't.' The only real good Aldawen could see that had come out of all this was that she was
now aware of Sprite's treachery.
For a moment she entertained the notion of just deleting the whole folder of pictures
of Jack Sparrow, destroying the evidence and thus casting no doubt onto her own fidelity. But the instant the thought came
to mind she banished it with a frustrated shake of the head. Jack was too delicious to delete.
With a sigh, Aldawen
reached over to pick up her crocheting. Lately, she was passing her time making hats. It was something to concentrate on,
and helped to keep her mind away from the depressing matters at hand. But as she reached over to pick up the basket in which
her yarn and needles were held, she stifled a small scream. A large black rat was sitting next to the basket, cool as you
please, a sword around his waist and both glittering, black eyes fixed on her own. Aldawen glared at the rat.
she hissed, waving her hands in what was (had she been aware) a very comical fashion. "Go on, get out of here!" The rat continued
to stare at her.
"No," it said. Now it was Aldawen's turn to stare.
"What?" she asked dumbly.
rat repeated. "As in, no, I will not go away."
A part of Aldawen's brain decided to shut down and ignore that fact
that the creature she was conversing with happened to be a rat. "Why not?" she asked.
"Because I've been sent to find
you and I'll be damned if I'm going to go back to Him saying that I've failed my mission."
"Him?" asked Aldawen, puzzled.
"Him who? And what sort of mission?"
"Lord Elrond is being crowned king of Rodentell tomorrow," said the rat dryly,
"and he wants more spies. He thinks you'll make a good spy. So he made me give up my place as standard bearer in the coronation
so that I could come make you join our side and be a spy for us."
Aldawen had failed to hear anything the rat said
after the word "tomorrow." "Wait..." she said. "Elrond's being crowned... King? Of WHERE?"
The rat sighed. "I guess
I'd better explain the whole thing," he told her wearily. Aldawen nodded fervently, and the rat scrambled up onto her bed
and settled himself on one of her pillows. Aldawen recoiled slightly, but was otherwise unperturbed.
"My name is Bilge,"
the rat said. "I live in the city of Rodentell, located inside the walls of Rivendell, and I belong to the Brotherhood of
Extremely Elite Rats."
Aldawen though about this. "BEER?" she said after a moment, amused. Bilge made an impatient
"I am aware of the unfortunate acronym, and I assure you that we are currently petitioning to our superiors
for a change," he said irritably. "However-"
Something in Aldawen's brain seemed to turn on again. "Wait... How can
you talk?" she asked suspiciously. "You're a rat!"
"We're very SMART rats," Bilge snapped, sounding really impatient
now. "Anyway, BEER is kind of a secret police. We do a lot of spy work. On one of our missions, we found the mighty Lord Elrond
wrongly imprisoned. We freed him and brought him back to Rodentell, where it was decided that he should be crowned king to
replace our late king Ratticus, who left behind no acknowledged heir. Lord Elrond has been sending out spies to observe yourself
and your friends. We have relayed back to him the growing animosity between yourself and the aforementioned friends, and he
thinks that you would be a very useful spy for BEER and the rat population in general. He therefore extends the hand of friendship
and awaits your reply."
Aldawen stared at Bilge. After a moment, she collected her jaw off the floor and gave a low
whistle. "Thank you, Mr. Exposition..." she said in a low, rather awed voice. "So there's this whole city inhabited by rats
inside Rivendell's walls?" she asked, eyeing the walls of her room. Bilge nodded. "Wow..." Aldawen breathed. She stared at
her ceiling for a moment, apparently thinking. Suddenly she snapped her head back down to look at Bilge. "Why should I spy
for Elrond?" she said sharply, frowning.
Bilge sighed. He had been expecting this. "If you and your comrades had not
shrunken Elrond, he would never have found his way to us to become our king," he said solemnly. "He wishes to reward you for
this deed by helping you get your revenge on the traitor Sprite, so long as you will work for him and feed him inside information
on the activities of the residents of Rivendell."
"Why does he want inside information?" Aldawen asked, genuinely curious.
is classified information which I am not at liberty to disclose," Bilge replied loftily. Aldawen took this as a fancy way
of saying that he had no bloody clue. She nodded.
"Okay," she said, shrugging.
"Excellent!" cried Bilge, leaping
from his seat. "So you will be a spy for my lord?" Aldawen opened her mouth to answer, but Bilge cut her off. "You WILL? Splendid!
I shall tell my lord of your answer straight away!" He leapt off the bed, scampered across the floor, and with a swish of
his tail, disappeared through a previously unnoticed hole in the wall.
"No, wait!" cried Aldawen. "I didn't mean...
That's not what I... You don't under... Oh, bloody hell." She flopped onto her back on the bed and sighed, once again staring
at the ceiling. This was turning out to be a very strange day.
Elrond was napping. He was awakened by his butler telling him that a spy from BEER was here to see him. Crossly, Elrond
told the butler to show the spy in. He blinked when Bilge entered the room.
"Back already?" he asked.
my lord," replied Bilge.
"Was the mission successful?"
"Yes, my lord. The girl was very eager for the task;
she agreed almost immediately," Bilge told him.
"Excellent," said Elrond happily. "Very well, soldier. You may go."
Bilge did not move, but stared at Elrond expectantly. "What-?" asked Elrond, and then he remembered. "Oh yes, I suppose you
want you position as standard bearer back. Very well. I shall alert Sergeant Pepper Spray immediately that we shall be using
you after all. Now, GO!"
Grinning happily, Bilge bowed and left the room.
Figwit and Sprite were walking back to Figwit's rooms, discussing their visit with Legolas. It hadn't been very a very productive
meeting, and they had learned nothing to their advantage. It had been made worse, in fact, when they had forgotten about the
fangirls in the hall outside, and despite Leroy's frantic attempts to grab their attention, opened the door. Sprite had almost
been trampled by the stampeding fangirls before Figwit pulled her to safety, and it had taken Legolas, Sake, Sprite, and Figwit
to close the door again.
After they had kicked all the fangirls who'd gotten in out of the window, Leroy had dropped
Sprite and Figwit off in a courtyard, and they headed back to Figwit's rooms.
"First rats, now fangirls," Figwit muttered.
"I'm beginning to think that getting Elrond out of the picture may not have been such a good idea after all."
nodded glumly, afraid that the mob of Legolas fangirls could only be followed by an equally hormonal crowd of Figwit fangirls.
These fears were forgotten, suddenly, when a cold wave of unidentified terror swept through her mind. She shuddered.
asked Figwit anxiously, seeing her white face. "Are you alright?"
"I... Yes, I think," Sprite replied shakily. "I just
had this feeling... like something horrible was happening... and I don't know what." Figwit patted her shoulder sympathetically.
within the city of Rodentell, Elrond was laughing.